When Daniel Boone football coach Jeremy Jenkins looked at a killer five-game stretch of his team’s 2013 schedule, it’s likely he would have taken Friday night’s situation in any of them.
The Trailblazers were up by three points, it was fourth-and-21 for Dobyns-Bennett in its own territory, and just 1:33 remained in the game.
Unfortunately, the end result is not something Jenkins would be happy to accept in any game.
Dobyns-Bennett pulled a great escape, leaving Boone to enter games three, four and five of the stretch with a gut-wrenching loss. A setback against Sullivan South preceded the D-B game while Greeneville, Tennessee High and Science Hill await on the other side.
“One thing for sure: If anybody is good in Northeast Tennessee, we can tell you because we play them all,” said Jenkins, whose team opened the season against Elizabethton.
The five-game stretch is arguably one of the toughest an area team has ever faced. And what could have been a big boost turned into a regrouping project.
“Every time we take the field, we expect to win,” said Jenkins. “It was just one of those games. They made a play at the end, and it’s a hard pill to swallow.
“We outplayed them every way but on the scoreboard. I’ve been on both sides of games like that. But it was the best effort we’ve had all year.”
The game didn’t end with the fourth-and-21 conversion, but it certainly gave the Indians the momentum they needed. Quarterback Josh Holt hit Caleb Cook for a 28-yard connection to keep D-B’s hopes alive.
“We were in the defense we wanted to be in,” said Jenkins. “It was just one of those things. They still had to drive the ball 30-35 yards after that play.”
D-B’s Trey Trammell scored from 1-yard out with 27.7 seconds remaining for the eventual winning score. The Indians tacked on two more points with a sack for a safety.
Now Boone’s players have to pick themselves up and get after Greeneville — which has one of the best teams in the state, regardless of classification.
“We don’t have time to sit around and whine about it,” said Jenkins. “Greeneville is an extremely fast team. If you miss a tackle it’s not six or seven yards, it’s a touchdown.”
Greeneville is a big reason the five-game stretch looks so tough. Boone’s conference schedule was drawn, and the Greeneville game came about because both teams had an open week and needed a game.
“We just fell into each other,” said Jenkins.
Despite the tough loss, Jenkins said he expects his players to respond.
“We want it to hurt, but at the same time we’ve got to pick up and go on,” said Jenkins. “I’ve seen the kids, and they’re disappointed. But we gave great effort, and that’s all I can ask.”
Follow Douglas Fritz on Twitter @FritzBlitzzz.
Points of interest: Greeneville still leads the state in scoring defense. The Greene Devils have allowed just 3.3 points per game in what has turned out to be quite a battle with Knox Fulton, which has surrendered just 4.1 per contest. …
On the offensive side of the spectrum, Fulton is No. 1 at 58.3 per game, followed by Upperman (53.0) and Greeneville (49.0).
Sullivan South is No. 5 at 44.3.
State rankings update: Here is a look at significant changes in Johnson City Press votes for this week’s Associated Press poll.
Class 6A — All aboard! Wooo, wooo! It’s time to finally get on the train that is Maryville. It was high time to abandon the Whitehaven ship after a squeaker win was followed by a 49-27 spank-down at the hands of a once-beaten Illinois team. Whitehaven drops to No. 8.
Class 5A — None.
Class 4A — None.
Class 3A — Undefeated Lewis County jumps to No. 4 based on the strength of a 37-34 win over Fairview.
Class 2A — None.
Class 1A — Cloudland takes advantage of the Greenback loss to move to No. 3.
Golf update: Science Hill’s girls and Dobyns-Bennett’s boys take aim at championships today as the Class AAA state tournament begins at WillowBrook Golf Course in Manchester.
Action continues Wednesday in the two-day event, and the Lady Hilltoppers will try to join Sullivan South — which won the Class A-AA girls title by eight strokes last week.
Soccer update: It has been a tough season for Science Hill’s girls, and it didn’t get any better with last week’s loss to Tennessee High — which likely gave the Big Seven Conference title to Dobyns-Bennett.
The Lady Indians can wrap up the championship by beating David Crockett today.
However, things start anew Monday as Science Hill plays host for the District 1-AAA tournament. Quarterfinal contests are scheduled for home sites of higher seeds. …
Sullivan South captured the Three Rivers Conference title with last week’s 1-0 win over University High.
The Lady Junior Bucs will travel to play Elizabethton in the semifinals of the District 1-A/AA tournament next week.
Volleyball update: District tournaments are under way at Church Hill (1-AAA) and Erwin (1-AA). Teams will battle for a pair of spots in next week’s region events.
Dobyns-Bennett is a slight favorite over Science Hill and Sullivan Central in 1-AAA. Sullivan South is a strong favorite in 1-AA with Sullivan East expected to join the Lady Rebels in the finals.
Football games of the week: Daniel Boone at Greeneville, Volunteer at David Crockett, Tennessee High at Dobyns-Bennett, Sullivan North at Elizabethton, Unicoi County at Johnson County.
Trailblazers vs. Greene Devils — It’s a game Greeneville can’t overlook, and a game Boone needs in order to regain momentum.
Falcons vs. Pioneers — Three wins currently qualifies for postseason play in Class 5A, and Crockett already has four victories. With tough games against Tennessee High and Daniel Boone left on the schedule, this could be the Pioneers’ best shot at taking a big step toward a playoff spot.
Vikings vs. Indians — In most seasons, D-B leaves a stream of blowout wins in its wake. However, it has been a season of close games this year (1, 12, 4, 7 and 6 points are five of the Indians’ seven margins). This one looks like more of the same.
Raiders vs. Cyclones — These teams met twice last season, and both games went down to wire, settled by a combined total of just five points. Both teams rely heavily on their ground games, with the Cyclones producing 86 percent of their yards by running the ball and North at 90 percent.
Blue Devils vs. Longhorns — The winner of this game stays within shouting distance of the playoffs.
Pick of the Week — Elizabethton 32, Sullivan North 26.
The Cyclones usually have trouble defending the Raiders’ offense, giving up 38, 21 and 41 points in their last three meetings. However, North has the task of stopping Elizabethton, too.
Picks record: 7-0.
Player of the week — Ryan Burger of David Crockett.
The Pioneers pounded Sullivan Central 35-8, and Burger was a big reason for it. The sophomore quarterback completed 18 of 25 passes for 260 yards and connected on scoring strikes of 23, 14 and 27 yards.
Burger also added a 1-yard scoring run.
The Hogs Award — Elizabethton Cyclones.
It was another impressive performance for the “Clone Hogs,” and they road-graded their way to 332 yards rushing on 37 attempts, an average of nine yards per carry in a 50-8 pounding of Happy Valley.
They also built a pass-protection fortress, allowing six completions in nine attempts for 67 percent.
Defensive unit of the week — Elizabethton Cyclones.
A pair of brief hiccups in pass defense prevented a shutout, but the Cyclones’ defense stood tall once again. It allowed just 104 yards rushing on 47 attempts for just 2.2 per carry. The Cyclones also recovered a fumble, had six tackles for loss — including three sacks — and forced six punts.
This Week in Prep History — October 6, 1989.
Sullivan South quarterback Stacy Carter was chosen as the Class AAA state player of the week. The senior was 12 of 19 passing for 189 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown pass to Stacy Judd with one second left in the game.
Carter then hit Tom Kirtz for the game-winning 2-point conversion pass. He also rushed for two scores.
David Crockett is back in business, returning to the Prep Top 10 in the No. 10 position.
Team W-L Prv
1. Greeneville 6-0 1
2. Sullivan South 6-0 2
3. Elizabethton 5-1 3
4. Science Hill 4-2 4
5. Dobyns-Bennett 4-3 5
6. Tennessee High 3-3 6
7. Cloudland 6-0 7
8. Daniel Boone 3-3 8
9. Sullivan North 5-2 9
10. David Crockett 4-3 nr